SMART Photo Organizing for the New Year

SMART Photo Organizing for the New Year

What’s your New Year’s resolution?  Lose weight? Exercise more?  Eat more healthily?  These are all great resolutions!  But I’d like to suggest a resolution to preserve family memories.

I’ve talked to several people recently who have large photo collections.  The photos are in boxes and albums.  There are so many photos that the task of organizing them seems so overwhelming, it’s a struggle to even think about how to tackle this project.

The approaches to organizing your photos run the gamut from completely DIY, to completely handing the project to a Photo Organizer.  This article will focus on a combination approach.

My suggestion is to work with a Photo Organizer to help you through the process, and use SMART objectives – Start and set Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound goals. 

I encourage you to curate the photos before handing them over to the organizer for scanning and final organization.  When you curate the photos, you will basically follow the sorting recommendations I provided in the May, 2018 blog (  throw out the bad or meaningless photos (these are the “C” photos); box up the pictures you can’t part with, but are not worth scanning (these are the “B” photos); the photos that are left are the really meaningful pictures you want to keep and scan so you could share and pass on to your children and grandchildren.

Start by selecting the first album or box you get your hands on.  While watching TV or some other kind of mindless activity, start working on this first box or album.  Start by curating, as described above.  When organizing, I like to use photo shoe boxes, putting index cards in front of each logical grouping.  The grouping could be chronological, such as by year, or it could be by event, such as a family reunion or a special birthday.  Remember, this is your project.  The organization structure needs to make sense to you.

As you work through the box, the photos will fall into place:  photos from the same event will naturally be together, duplicates should be discarded; negatives could be kept.  If you run into an event similar to one you’ve already curated, but you can’t find it – don’t worry, that will all sort itself out during post-scanning organization.

One of the beauties of digitizing is that groups of photos that were in separate albums or in different boxes could very easily be merged into one group.

The advantage of doing the pre-scanning organization, or curating, yourself is that only you really know your pictures and only you know which are the important ones.  Also, taking pictures out of photo albums is very time-consuming.  If you’re willing to invest this time, the project becomes more economical.

To make the goals measurable, achievable and time-bound a schedule of, perhaps, one album in a week or one box in two weeks would do the trick.  Even if it takes a while to go through the collection, you’ll be able to see the progress.  After all, how long have the pictures been hidden away?  If you’re working with a Photo Organizer, you could give her (or him) what you’ve worked on and they could start the scanning process.

I hope I provided you with some SMART suggestions for achieving your New Year’s resolution.

If you’re in the Houston area and you’re looking for a Photo Organizer, I would love to work with you. Please Contact me.

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